Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Hi 36° | Lo 20°

Northampton’s Look Park trying to treat lawns using organic methods

William Hildreth, the park’s maintenance director, said Look Park switched to an organic program three years ago, though only a portion of the lawns in the park are being treated that way right now.

Hildreth said the expense of converting to organic methods has been a tough hurdle to clear and the grass in the areas where the park is using such methods is not as lush and aesthetically pleasing as it has been in the past. In addition, he noted, there are some areas where organic treatment simply hasn’t worked.

“We did try to get away from Roundup, but nothing else works,” Hilldreth said. “We’re using Roundup today in some areas.”

But he said Look Park is committed to “doing what’s right” and will continue to invest in its organic program in partnership with lawn care professional Bernadette Giblin, who owns Safeground Organics Lawn Care in Northampton.

“I really believe in it,” he said. “I really think it’s an environmentally responsible thing to do.”

Look Park’s program began in 2010 when it and Safeground received a community grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute of the University of Massachusetts Lowell to begin organically treating the grass around the Pines Theater, an outdoor amphitheater.

A year later, the same organization awarded a second grant, which Look Park coupled with matching funds, to stop using chemicals to treat a 13-acre ballfield in the center of the park.

Even though the grant funds have expired, the park has made a commitment to continue the organic method through local sponsorships and a partnership with Valley Green of Holyoke, Hildreth said. He said Roundup is not being used in these areas.

“To really do it right, organic lawn care is a lot more expensive,” Hildreth said. “We do the best we can with the money and resources we have.”

The expense, Hildreth said, is part of the conundrum the park and other entities with tight budgets — like the city of Northampton — face as they explore whether to go organic.


Protesters urge Northampton to avoid use of herbicide on new sports fields

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — About 60 protesters from children to seniors gathered at the corner of Spring and Meadow streets in Florence Tuesday, not far from new playing fields where contractors planned to spray an herbicide this week. They were protesting the planned application of Roundup to the fields, which are surrounded by organic farmland. After pressure from the public and Grow …

Northampton mayor halts herbicide use; concerned about chemical-drift 

Monday, August 19, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Public outcry over the planned use of Roundup herbicide on Florence Fields, the new recreation fields near the organic community gardens and farm, led Mayor David J. Narkewicz Monday to halt application of the weed-killing chemical scheduled to begin this week. But the directors of the city’s Office of Planning and Development and Recreation Department are urging the …

Legacy Comments2

Don't forget to compute the cost of Roundup resistant weeds and elevated health costs.

I guess what I don't understand is who cares about crab grass? Is it an aesthetic thing only?

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.